Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Journal of the History of Philosophy Vol. 42, No. 2, April 2004

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Journal of the History of Philosophy Vol. 42, No. 2, April 2004

Article excerpt

Descartes's Conceptual Distinction and its Ontological Import, JUSTIN SKIRRY

Descartes's conceptual distinction (or distinctio rationis) is commonly understood to be a distinction created by the mind's activity without a foundation in re. This paper challenges this understanding partially based on a letter to an unknown correspondent in which Descartes claims not to admit distinctions without a foundation. He goes on to claim that his conceptual distinction is not a distinctio rationis ratiocinantis (as in a distinction of reasoning reason) but is something like a formal distinction or, more precisely, a distinctio rationis ratiocinatae (that is, a distinction of reasoned reason). This remark is then explored through Descartes's other writings and his scholastic intellectual heritage. The author concludes that Descartes's conceptual distinction is just a formal distinction understood as a distinctio rationis ratiocinatae as expressed in the works of Scotus, Suarez, and Eustachius, and so it has a foundation in re in very much the same way as a formal distinction.

Bayle and the Case for Actual Parts, THOMAS HOLDEN

Pierre Bayle is the most forthright and systematic early modern proponent of the actual parts doctrine, the period's counterpart to the "doctrine of arbitrary undetached parts" familiar from current analytic mereology and metaphysics. In this paper the author introduces both the actual parts account of the internal structure of matter and the rival system of potential parts. He then identifies Bayle as the leading advocate of the actual parts doctrine and examines his arguments for this account. …

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